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Living in Chicago, done well, is a rich experience. But availing yourself of its diverse culture, food, activities, nightlife and people need not require a rich person’s budget. Smart hunters can still land a residence in some of Chicago’s most desirable neighborhoods for a relative bargain.

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Even though the wind is howling and you’re always one good storm away from never forgetting the term “lake effect snow,” winter in Chicago offers a host of wonders, indoors and out. There are too many to choose from, but here are 15 favorite things to do in a Chicago winter.

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A map doesn’t define Chicago so much as a mosaic. There are unique textures and colors everywhere, and when you’re apartment hunting, the spot that catches your eye probably says more about who you are than it does about how many bedrooms you need.

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With recreation, nightlife, sports, food, art, walkable neighborhoods and short commutes, Chicago is a beacon in the Midwest. Find out how much it costs to live in Chicago and how to jump-start your apartment search to get a pad with your top desired amenities in a neighborhood you love to call home.

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